tv [untitled] August 8, 2010 4:00pm-4:30pm PST
country," take a step and sip back in time at a unique ranch. >> the overall theme is, wow, it's pretty spectacular. >> then, farming in the city? sound impossible? not for these folks. >> this is my land, but it's everybody's land. >> next, meet a farmer and a chef who make the perfect pair--literally. >> i think pears are great because they're--i like the versatility. >> then, ever wonder how to pick the best summertime produce? we've got the tricks of the trade from a pro. it's all ahead, and it starts now. [moo] >> here in the tiny town of santa margarita, they have a population of only 1,300. but what they lack in size, they more than make up for in history. that's thanks
to its legendary occupant, the santa margarita ranch, one of the oldest, continuously operated cattle ranches in california, and one that draws oohs and ahs from both its visitors and owners. >> the overall theme is, wow, it's pretty spectacular. most people that look at it, just go, ooh, blows you aqay. >> this was the most idyllic place in the county. and i really do believe, today, it is truly one of the crown jewels of san luis obispo county. >> i don't know that i've ever been able to explain how i fell in love with the margarita. >> all three owners are local boys who knew about and had olized the ranch growing up, and leapt at the chance to purchase it in 1999, and keep it true to its rich agricultural roots. you see, the ranch was first established way back in the late 1770s, and was part of father serra's famed mission trail. back then, it was
actually the ranch and farm to local missions in the area. later the land became known as the queen of the cattle rancheros for its elaborate parties, fiestas and get-togethers. >> you know, it has so many aspects of it that are unique. it's certainly a beautiful working landscape for those that pass by. but as they become more involved and knowledgeable in it. it has a unique history, from the spanish era, the native american era, and certainly more recently, the western and rancho period. it continues to be alive and well here. >> today, the new generation of owners is continuing the cattle venture. doug, carl, and carl's daughter amanda, along with their crew of workers, oversee the cattle operation where much of their beef goes to harris ranch to be sold at restaurants and stores up and down the state. to supplement their income on the ranch, they also have begun giving tours on the ranch to introduce their urban neighbors to the rural life that surrounds them. you might say they're going back to their roots and reinventing
the past to introduce a special way of life to new visitors. >> you know, it means a lot. i think that people can really connect with the sense of place, the sense of family, and then really back roots agriculture. and people love it. >> but it's all in an effort to make people associate with this place, and create an experience from the land. with this place, and create an experience from the land. and that's kind of funny in today's society, 'cause people come here and they're totally blown away. they say, "oh, these cows, they just wander around?" and i said, "yeah." "well, don't they have a barn?" and i said, "no, they don't have a barn, that's the way they live." >> in addition to the cattle, the trio of present-day owners planted grapes across almost 900 acres on the ranch. the margarita vineyard is unique as they come, as it stretches across several different mini
microclimates on the ranch, and is grown on a rich soil full of fossils. >> it's just riddled with calcium. this is 94% calcium. and the calcium uptake into the vines just imparts special flavors to the grapes, which translates into structure and flors in the wines. >> some of the grapes are sold to california wineries, but many end up here at the ancient peaks winery in downtown santa margarita, that is alpo owned by the trio of families. so if they're not out wrangling on the ranch... >> if we just bring them down the fence line, they'll go right--they'll go right--yeah. >> then they're more than likely mingling at the tasting room with friends and family. >> there you are, cheers. a lot of people go on the tours that we have. and so when they come here, they're like, "we didn't know this place was so special and there was so much history and you've got all these oyster shells and the petrified sea bags," and so everyone is just really happy when they come in, and the wines are fabulous.
>> thank you all so much for coming tonight. we appreciate you being here. cheers to all of you, and here's to good times and good friends. [cheers and applause] >> and harkening back to their historical roots, the family still enjoys having get-togethers at the ranch or at the winery to share a glass of wine or maybe a history lesson, too. in fact, they've adopted a saying around these parts-- "the land lives on through each calf raised and each grape harvested here." it's been that way for centuries, and they hope to continue it for centuries to come, as well. >> the part that i enjoy is sharing it with people, and i think through the wine and the cattle, you know, i want people, when they eat one of their steaks, to think about this place. and when they drink a bottle of wine, i want them to think of this place.
>> welcome back to "california country". [jazz music playing] [indistinct chatter] >> do we look like we know what we're doing? >> san francisco is a world-renowned hotspot for great restaurants, food and chefs. but now the city is gaining notoriety for something else-- its community garden like alemany farm, where hundreds of people get involved in growing things. but since this 4 1/2
even longtime residents unknowingly drive right past this farm by the freeway. >> you know, i've driven by this road hundreds of times. i've never even seen this farm or heard of this farm. but it's beautiful here. >> the alemany farm is located basically right in the middle of san francisco. it's on the southern side of the city right next to the 280. we're lucky in that the space is so large that we have a big buffer zone between the freeway and qhere we grow. this space was basically an illegal dump. and people from all over the city would drive down alemany boulevard, pull off, and dump their refrigerators, whatever it was they didn't want. and so people in the alemany housing community decided they didn't want a dump in their neighborhood. >> you'll find a festive atmosphere on this community-organized farm. run largely by volunteers,
there's a variety @f crops, like collard greens, rainbow shards, strawberries, even artichokes-- all of this growing right next to a publc housing project. residents who volunteer get to pick and keep their own food. >> let me show you how to pick 'em. look how beautiful it is. you want to put it inside? >> yeah. >> good job. >> kids play an important role on this farm. 9-year-old christian and his 10-year-old buddy dejean were showing me the organic cabbages and greens they planted. >> these are called--i forgot what they're called. >> collard greens. >> yeah. [both giggling and we have lettuce growing right here. this one's almost done. it's like something you could co up here and do instead of being bored out there. >> erin williams has been involved in alemany farm for about 2 yes. this is your land! >> this is my land. but it's everybody*s land. and i just love the fact that we can have honey and beehives that we extract from.
>> [indistinct] oh, my gosh they're right behind us. >> they're right behind us. >> what is this we're looking at? >> so, these are boxes of the honey that we keep. and they actually have a layer of, kind of like-- >> like a tray? >> like a tray that collects the honey on top of the tray. >> growing and looking after so many crops takes an army of volunteers. and many of them have had little or no farming experience. but they often see once they get their hands in the soil, well, they're hooked. >> if you can't bring the people to the land, well, you gotta bring the land to the people. and that's what we're doing here. we've got this beautiful property. and we're taking advantage of it. >> jason marks, who graduated from a farming program at u.c. santa cruz, has beeb one of the farm managers for several years. he says this project symbolizes urban farming in america. and it's a great way for people--regardless of their income-- to grow organic, healthy food. >> this is urban farming. yeah, this is how we do it. and again, you know, we're growing about
3 tons of food--about 6,000 pounds of food--a year, which could sustain several dozen pounds of food--a year, which could sustain several dozen families. and again it's not like we're producing--we're proud of the amount of food that we produce. but mostly it's about showing people how much they can grow in their own backyard. >> and i noticed one of mplantp had mold this morning. we tranlanted it just in time. >> it's a lot of work. and they way that we're able to do it is because we've got so many volunteers like you saw just planting the trees. this is really popular. every weekend we've got literally dozens of people who come out here and volunteer. and so, that's how we run this garden is through volunteer labor. >> yeah. yeah. i like this farm so much sie all these fruits and vegetables growing here. >> you know, there's a victory gardens history in san francisco when people were growing-- i heard up to 40% of the city's food was grown within the city limits. and i feel like that's totally realistic. >> we're starting trails of new agriculture, of new things. we have peach trees.
>> my mother-in-laalways says she wants green beans and things like that. i'm like, "don't go to the store! i'll bring you some." you know, it's right in the garden. she loves the organic beans as opposed to her beans. so, you know, everybody's just getting healthy around here. we need this in our commuty. >> if you know what nature is, you can survive through nature. >> the u.s. department of agriculture says there are thousands of community farms and gardens throughout the country. >> being a small little market garden, it's not as if we're growing a ton of food. but we are showing people in urban places like san francisco how they can be their own food producers. >> this was just like perbect for me. so, it was just a garden. we can grow it ourselves. and we can eat it. and it's fresh. it's organic. so, absolutely, this really has been, you know, it's been wonderful. >> in san francisco, charlotte fadipe for "@alifornia country tv."
>> literally farm to table. literally it's like from the garden. it's from the dirt. i mean, they come straight from that place. the connection, when you make that connection with the farmer, with the growers, it makes for a different feeling when you're cooking. for me now, things taste different. >> welcome back to "california
country." the show that takes you on an all-expense paid trip to experience the best kept secrets of the golden state. >> sacramento is known for many things--a rich culinary scene, unique scenery, and a wealth of history. but just a stone's throw away from california's capitol city, you will find all of those adjectives describe another central valley city-- the agricultural oasis known as courtland. here along the delta, farming once thrived as 49ers came searching for riches during the gold rush. and now it's up to people like tim neuharth to keep that history alive by farming the land that has given him and his family so much. >> so the family's been here since 1848 here on the delta. came out here for the gold rush and found gold elsewhere.
found out that there was a market for fruit to feed everybody, and grain and all of that. cherries were a big thing here at one time, asparagus was a big thing here at one time. but now it's involved. pears are still a major pear growing region here in the delta. >> tim, along with his wife and 2 sons and 81-year-old mother all care for the most recognizable crop along the delta these days--pears. he has around 50 acres of them, growing mainly bartletts and what's being harvested today, golden russet boscs. both of whh thrive in this rich agricultural land. >> it's the soil. this is the delta. the delta's got tremendously healthy and good, deep soil. >> the sacramento delta's pear district actually can boast to being the world's most extensive plantings of pears, most of which have gone to
the canning industry in years' past, but at tim's farm, his go to the fresh market, juice industry and to baby food. but always striving to do more, tim is hoping to turn this once rich farming area into an educaional oasis for visitors of all ages. >> we're slowly transitioning to agritourism to get people to come out and enjoy the farm, see what goes on in agriculture. ag-education is a big thing on farms these days to let people know where their food comes from and how it gets to their table so they can enjoy it. >> also enjoying the food that makes the delta famous is one of the sacramento area's most respected chefs patrick mulvaney. his restaurant mulvaney's business and loan has become a popular hangout for folks hoping to take advantage of mulvaney's culinary consciousness. the more seasonal and local, the better.
>> our restaurant is a little different than most other restaurants because our menu changes every day. and for me, instead , yes, it is a challenge, but rather than thinking of it as it's a challenge in a good sense, because it's what i wake up every day to do. i wake up to say, "what's new today, and what are we going to use? what's coming in the front door, and how are we going to make people in the dining room happy with it?" >> originally from the east coast, patrick says it's fun to work on the west coast where every month brings about more produce to experiment with, including his personal favorite, locally grown pears. on any given night, you might find them caramelized with onions over pork, or in a scrumptious dessert with this pear galette. >> i think pears are great because they're--i like the versatility. you can have them when they're fresh
and crunchy. and fresh and crunchy and just off of the tree, we can cook them down, we make pear butter, we make ice cream, we make sorbet. so it's soft. we use it under the pork that you saw today so that it melds well, it melds well into the pork dish. so it can be a star, it can be an accompaniment. it's just the whole variety of uses. >> and while pears may have a sweet history in this area, the people of courtland will tell you it's the future that's ripe for success. >> a pear is a unique fruit. there's nothing really like it, and i don't think they'll ever go away. in ancient times, they were called the fruit of the gods. and it really is a great, great piece of fruit. if you'll let it ripen prerly and you have the ideal riping process going on, it's great, and they'll never go away. they'll always be here. there will be some pears here for a long, long time.
going to be talkg about how to pick the best produce, and there's nobody better to tell us about that than my friend greg corrigan of raley's, vice-president of produce and floral here. so first of all, tomatoes. how do you pk the best tomato? >> well, tomatoes here, one of our best sellers is the tomato on the vine, as you're seeing right here. so they're grown actually indoors, so most of the time, all you gotta look for is make sure there's no blemishes, no cuts, no scars. but generally they're consistent, good tomatoes. >> ok. >> and one thing that's commonly misunderstood is people tend to put tomatoes in the refrigerator. >> yeah, i do that. that's not good? >> you don't want to do that. and actually, anything below 55 degrees causds them to break down. they get mealy. they actually lose their flavor. >> ohh. >> so you don't want to do that. and you want to keep them out on your counter. you notice this, as it's growing, the riper ones are towards the top where the plant grows. >> right. >> so those are the 2 tomatoes you want to use first. >> ok. >> so as you work through the week, you'll pick those 2 top ones first, and then let those 3 bottom ones continue
to ripen on the counter at room temperature. >> so, greg, we have some more tomatoes over here. what should we be looking with these guys? >> well, these are the hothouse beefsteak tomatoes, and what you want to look for is just, again, no cracking, no blemishing, no wrinkling. tend to be wrinklibg will tend to show some of the decay or aging of the tomato. but, yeah, and even on the smaller tomatoes, these tend to be a little higher in sugar content. so these also, you want to make sure there's nothing breaking down, no mold in the pack. there should be a nice, firm, red skin to 'em. >> yeah, these look great. so i would pick these, then? >> definitely, that's ready to go. >> ok, let's go. ok, so now we're onto the melon area. what should we look for in a good cantaloupe? >> well, cantaloupe, again, a lot of it's based on the skin. you don't want to e any blistering or any wrinkling. you want to see a nice, consistent, round, firm flush to it. nice and heavy dense piece of fruit. >> ok. >> as you notice in here, i think you were gonna-- >> yeah! is this bad? i look at that and go, oooh. >> it's actually not.
actually all that is is from where it sat on the ground. it didn't color up just 'cause it was not exposed to light in the field. >> oh, ok. so it's still good. >> so it's still good, good piece of fruit. >> ok. >> but again, you want to make sure there's not any cracks or breaking down or rubbing of the skin. that will be an indication that it's starting to break down anbe out of its prime. >> and it should smell like a melon. >> you actually can. once these get a little bit, if they're not too cold, a little bit room temperature, you can actually smell some of the cantaloupe fragrance it gives off. so you've got a nice, strong fragrance, nice, strong cantaloupe fragrance, that's going to be a good cantaloupe. >> ok, that's good. now what about they honeydew? what are we looking for? i notice a difference in color here. >> you can kind of see a little bit of difference in ripeness. these aren't quite as ripe as the deeper, darker one. you'll see this deeper yellowing. you'll actually get a tackiness to feel to it, whereas these will be a little bit smoother as they start to ripen and get a deeper color, you'll just get that tackiness to it. it'll be a little more sticky, and those are the ones you want to go for. >> now this one, i always have trouble picking the best corn. what should i be looking for on this one?
>> well, you just want to find one that's got nice green coloring to it, where the silks aren't real moldy or beaten up. >> ok. >> ideally, you want to just rip that thing open, though, and check, make sure you got full maturity all the way through to the cor that it's not immature and underdeveloped. but corn, one thifg about corn, once it's harvested, it instantly is turning fr sugar to starch. so you want to get it in the fridge right away at home. you don't want to store corn too long at home, you want to eat it right away. >> 'cause what happens? >> it'll definitely get starchy. and we don't want starch in corn. >> now what's with the silk? what is that, tell me about that a little bit. >> here's a little trivia for you. >> fun fact, fun fact, i love fun facts. >> did you know, for every single one of those kernels, there's a silk associated to it? so that's what those are. from when the pollination occurs, every single one of those kernels has a silk tied to it. >> have you counted? do you know for sure? >> not in all of our spare time, no. [both laugh] >> so this is my personal favorite, strawberries. i love strawberries. but how do i pick a good basket of strawberries? >> well, you definitely want t look for one that doesn't have any mold. you want to always turn them over.
>> ok, good, i do that, that's good. >> shake them around a little bit. make sure you don't see any that are getting fuzzy, 'cause sometimes that happens. you get one strawberry that's bad. it'll kinda infest the whole package. but you want a nice, shiny, firm, no mold. >> ok, good, good, good. >> one thing that a lot of people will dg is take these home and wash 'em up right away. but really, if you're not going to use them that very first day, you'll want to put them in the refrigerator just like this in the container, and then take 'em out and wash 'em as you need 'em. >> oh, really? >> because that water, that moisture can tend to cause a little bit of mold to start growing on them. so you definitely don't want that. so wash 'em as you need 'em. >> so how long would you store these in the fridge, would you say? >> you know, some people stretch it 3, 4, 5, 6 days, but you definitely don't want to stretch it beyond 6 or 7 days. >> too much longer than that, right? >> that's going to push the limits of it. >> ok, good, good, good. and when in doubt, if you have any questions, ask your local produce man, right? >> the produce manager that's on duty, they're the experts in the field. they know what's going on. they know what's coming in local and good right then and there. always want
to ask them what's going on. >> good. you guys know. ok, thanks. >> that concludes today's tour of the best of california country. join us next time for more undiscovered treasures from the most fascinating state in the country. [captioning made possible by california farm bureau federation] [captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--] >> welcome to "culture wire." on this episode, we visit with one of the arts commissions very special teams.